A Fresh Start to 2021

Many posts may be about the achievements and successes of people’s 2020. During an unprecedented year, other posts may be about realisations and epiphanies. It is ok to have just been able to survive 2020, treading water. 

For me, 2020 has been a wake up call. I had the time and space to stop and think about what my life was, where it was heading, and whether I wanted to continue down that route. I was trying to look at the bigger picture, and made decisions and acted to alter this route, which I will write about another time. 

2020 also awoke some fears that I thought I had buried long ago. Uncertainty, germs, racism. I have briefly written about racism before. And I have been a hermit for most of 2020, not only due to fear of the pandemic, but also due to fear of racism. 

And though there are things that can be done or bought to overcome germs, such as wiping down groceries or hand sanitisers; I have yet to find things that can be done to deal with racism in a full proof way. Regarding uncertainty, there have been days where I could not even plan for the following week. There was so much fear, anxiety, and noise around me and internally. 

Everything around me was burnt out or treading water. There have been many hard moments in 2020: illness, deaths, dashed dreams, promised jobs rescinded, weddings postponed, milestone birthdays uncelebrated, holidays of a lifetime cancelled. People have been trying to survive 2020 in their own way.

Some, in ways I just did not understand and did not want to accept. It’s been hard seeing people on opposite ends of the spectrum. Some have been hermits like me, for their own reasons; whilst others have been acting like Dominic Cummings, again for their own reasons. 

But I learnt in the year, more and more, people have different thresholds. And those thresholds can peak and trough, just as much as someone can change their mind. I also learnt to let go more. I don’t have to be emotionally invested in everything and everyone anymore.

It is too exhausting. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep others warm. Or if you choose to, you can be a doormat and let others walk over you but someone will complain that you are not flat enough. 

Unfollowing people in real life, or setting boundaries, has really helped me. Other things have helped too, such as changing perspective and better understanding motivation. Knowing when something is no longer serving you and having the courage to walk away. I used to think it was giving up, and maybe it is, to some. But if you flip it – you’re setting yourself free. Reframing the narrative and unburdening yourself. 

2020 has been hard to believe in myself, my abilities, my decisions. Then I saw an Instagram post, of course, where it stated: If you can believe in Father Christmas for 8 years, then you can believe in yourself for 8 seconds. And then you can believe in yourself for another 8 seconds, which can then become 8 minutes, which can then become 8 hours. And before you know it – that’s a whole work day done! I didn’t believe in Father Christmas, but now I sure believe in myself just a little bit more. 

In my previous job, there was a 2020 goal, which they coined the company’s 2020 vision. This was not the 2020 any of us had in mind. But last year, I feel personally, has indeed fixed my vision on many things. The noise has almost gone now. I feel older, wiser maybe. I see things clearer now than I had previously, and I try not to let emotions or judgement cloud me.

I understand that we are only human, doing the best we can, with the tools we are given at the time. Some people are given tools from the beginning, whilst others have to learn them along the way. I’m still learning. I’m still treading water, but I’m no longer drowning. I look forward to the day where I’m swimming in my oasis again, but right now, I am ok with where I am treading water. 

And now we are in a new year. And now I am trying to run towards something good, rather than running away from something bad. During hard times I try to remind myself that this too shall pass. That trying is winning. I have been through dark times before and will likely go through dark times again. It’s only when it gets really dark that we can see the stars. That one is from Neil Gaiman

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